Today, Bloomberg Philanthropies announced a new clean air partnership with the City of Milan, and Agenzia Mobilità Ambiente e Territorio (AMAT) to better understand and improve air quality in Italy’s second-most populous city. The new initiative will invest in monitoring street-level air quality around Milan’s schools and mobilizing student and community action for cleaner air. The initiative also comes in support of the European Union’s zero pollution ambition set in the European Green Deal.
The pilot initiative aims to harness the power of data by deploying a local air quality monitoring network with the installation of low-cost sensors at schools to measure air pollution levels at 50 schools and 10 priority sites over a period of two years. As part of this project, AMAT, the city’s agency delegated for local air quality monitoring, will develop hyperlocal data on air quality with a digital platform to provide information to City administration for planning purposes and to schools, parents, and the wider community to increase citizens’ awareness on air pollution.
As part of this initiative, the Italian Climate Network in partnership with Edizioni Ambiente will also launch an educational campaign in schools across Milan leveraging the local air quality data and other resources to advance students and their families’ understanding on the sources of pollution and the importance of clean air.
“Air pollution is a pressing public health challenge in cities around the world, particularly for children and other vulnerable residents,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, U.N. Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Climate Ambition and Solutions, Founder of Bloomberg LP and Bloomberg Philanthropies, and 108th Mayor of New York City. “To better understand the problem in Milan, and rally support to address it, Bloomberg Philanthropies is glad to work with Mayor Sala to deploy a localized air monitoring network at schools across the city. This work will help Milan improve its air quality, and inform similar projects in other cities.”
“Milan is at a geographical disadvantage in terms of air stagnation and pollution concentration. Air quality is therefore a key environmental objective. This is why Milan did not stop at defining a Climate Plan: we made it an Air Quality and Climate Plan”, said Giuseppe Sala, Mayor of the City of Milan. Mayor Sala is the Chair of the C40 Global Mayors COVID-19 Recovery Task Force.
Milan is among the top ten EU cities with the highest costs and mortality burden stemming from air pollution. Under the leadership of Mayor Giuseppe Sala, Milan has taken bold action to tackle air pollution in the city with an ambitious voluntary Air Quality and Climate Plan, restricting polluting vehicles, committing to create a zero-emission area in the city center by 2030, abiding to the C40 Fossil-Fuel-Free Streets Declaration and strengthening air quality monitoring.
“Achieving clean, healthy air is a challenge for cities around the world, with more than 90% of cities exceeding the WHO-recommended air pollution levels,” said Adam Freed, Principal at Bloomberg Associates and an advisor to Milan on climate and sustainability initiatives. “This new monitoring initiative and the municipality’s recently adopted Climate and Air Quality Plan are critical, data-driven actions that put Milan on the pathway to achieve clean air and protect people’s health.”
This is the latest example of Bloomberg Philanthropies’ international efforts to leverage data and empower local leaders to meet the intersectional challenges of fighting climate change and protecting public health. The new project in Milan builds on Bloomberg Philanthropies’ engagement with local partners and local authorities to design and lead impactful projects that can accelerate action to end air pollution in London, Brussels, Paris, Mumbai, and Jakarta. This project also expands the City of Milan’s partnership with Bloomberg Associates, Bloomberg Philanthropies’ pro-bono consultancy, whose work has supported modernizing the City’s economic development strategy, creating green public space, and making it easier for people to move to the city.